Search Engine Rankings: How to Avoid Penalties and Ranking Drop?
A drop in a website’s Search Engine ranking can sometimes happen in the blink of an eye. One day, you were showing up on the first page of search results, and by the next day your site could barely be found. If you depend on your visibility in the search engines to bring in the bulk of your visitors, this scenario can be quite frightening. It’s especially terrifying if you have no idea why the drop in rankings happened. There are many reasons why a site’s ranking might suffer an abrupt plunge, and the majority of them can be avoided with a bit of time and effort.
Let’s look at some of the most common things which are usually done by marketers, but, it is better to avoid them.
- Artificial link-building: Buying links, renting links and participating in too many link exchanges are just a few of the link-building practices that could earn you a penalty. Search Engines (especially Google) frowns on any artificial means of building your link network. If you need to boost your backlink profile, it’s best to do it the old-fashioned way. Reaching out to the webmasters of other reputable sites in your niche and guest-posting on well-known blogs are great ways to build a solid set of links to your site.
- Keyword stuffing: In the early days of SEO, it was typical to stuff your keywords as densely as possible into your content. Of course, this resulted in some badly-written content that was clearly created for search engines instead of humans. Keyword-stuffed pages won’t get you far in the rankings today; the better strategy is to incorporate your keywords in a natural manner, without sacrificing the quality of the content.
- Duplicate content: Search Engine doesn’t want its users to see the same content repeated within a list of search results. To avoid the possibility of this poor user experience, they may penalize sites who have identical content across multiple pages. Using tools like Copyscape can help you ensure that all your content is completely original.
- Duplicate metadata: Similar to the problem of duplicate content, duplicate metadata can also hurt your rankings with the search engines. Search Engine won’t penalize you for having duplicate metadata alone, but they view it as a signal that your site may have a duplicate content issue. Many content management systems and blogging platforms make it easy to commit this particular transgression by accident. Take care to enter unique, original metadata for each of your site’s individual pages.
- Thin content: Search Engine likes to see pages that are rich in information and filled with original content. Pages that exist primarily to serve ads are likely to earn a penalty; similarly, e-commerce sites that copy their product descriptions directly from the manufacturer or another website might also find themselves in trouble.
- Abusing anchor text: Using your keywords in the anchor text of your links used to be standard recommendation among SEO experts. The algorithm changes involved in Google’s 2012 Penguin update changed all that, and this practice is no longer advised. Your anchor text should contain genuine phrases, and it should flow naturally with the rest of your content.